The only MSP Marketing Strategy you need for 2022May 18, 2022
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the ultimate marketing strategy that I would be following if I started a brand new MSP today.
I’ll walk you through both offline and online marketing pillars, ranking them from easy to most difficult, and also cover how much to budget for each of them.
If you're new here then hi my name is Pete, a couple of years ago I sold my MSP. Since selling up, I’ve helped hundreds of other MSPs to improve and grow their businesses. So if that’s something you want to see more of, consider heading over to my YouTube Channel and subscribing.
Networking (£50 p/m)
The first thing I would do as an MSP Business Owner is to get out and network. I actually don’t enjoy networking, I find it awkward, especially since I’m an introvert who doesn’t like awkward social situations. But there’s only one way to grow as a person, and that’s to put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
So sign up for the local network groups around you, ask some friends what groups they’d recommend, and also try some different types.
BNI is not for everybody. It’s not for me. But it is the right kind of group for some people.
LinkedInLocal groups have been popping up everywhere, those can also be great.
But just by putting yourself out there, chatting with people, and making new business friends and connections as you go - you never know what opportunities you’ll come across by just hanging out.
When I say hanging out - I mean, hang out. Don’t go in there to sell to people. You’re going there to basically make friends.
I’d budget around £50 per month for networking to cover any membership fees and perhaps food.
Social Media Marketing
The next one, and this one is totally free to do, is social media marketing.
It doesn’t take much to stay active on social media, and for those of you who are time-poor, I’d recommend just sticking to one social media platform. Don’t overcomplicate things by thinking you need to be everywhere at the same time.
For MSPs, LinkedIn is undoubtedly where you should be. But the rule of thumb here is that you want to be on whatever social platform your clients are on. If you think that’s Facebook, then you should be on Facebook. If you think that’s on TikTok, then you’d better get dancing!
You can use tools like MeetEdgar to automate a huge part of this social media marketing, and something I hear ALL the time is ‘Pete, you’re everywhere!’. That’s not me - I’m not sitting at my desk every hour of the day. That’s my social media scheduling tool that recycles and repurposes content for me.
I’ll leave a link below for that as I believe you get a small discount when using the link, but for social media marketing, I would budget around £20 per month, which is the cost of the meet Edgar plan.
The next one is your website. Having a good website can make or break whether prospects actually enquire or get in touch.
It doesn’t take much, and I’m not saying you need an all singing and dancing website. But the number of poor websites I see that look worse than that ‘my first frontpage website’ is astounding.
Grab a simple WordPress theme, use some real photos, include your contact information, and make sure that people landing on your page know what you do within 5 seconds of landing on your website.
For a good website, I’d recommend hiring a website developer, and make sure you find one that understands conversion-based websites just as well as they do design. Although it’s great to have a pretty website, it’s not so great if that website doesn’t convert to people getting in touch with you.
I’d budget around £1,500 for the website build itself, and then £25 per month for the hosting and minor maintenance. I’d also recommend using WPEngine if it’s a WordPress website because I noticed a significant improvement in performance, google rankings, and other things when moving to WPEngine. I’ll link below for those - and averaging that across 12 months, I’d budget £150 per month for your website.
Once you have a good website, then I’d suggest setting up Google Remarketing in Google Ads.
This is a really simple thing that lets you re-market to people landing on your website, as they’re browsing around the rest of the web.
So if someone hits your website, you can have your name and your brand appear across the web whilst they’re visiting another website.
This is hugely powerful, as we all know that many businesses are tied into contracts for their IT, so being able to show up consistently whilst they’re no longer on your website, helps to keep your name top of mind.
Also, there’s something that many people aren’t aware of, but you can use Custom Affinity Audiences on Google to target people who are visiting other people's websites.
Yes, you can literally have your banner ads show up in front of people when they are landing on your competitor's websites!
This one is totally free to set up, all you’ll pay is a tiny amount for the banner ad remarketing. So I’d budget at most, about £50 per month for this.
The next one that I’ve found really useful over the years is membership in various clubs, groups, and resources.
The first I’ve already made a post about on this website - is the Tech Tribe. It’s $49 per month and there’s an affiliated link below which will get you I think 40% off the first month. You’re not tied in for a year, so you could literally pay about £20 for the first month to decide if you like it or not, and then leave if you don’t.
In reality, TechTribe is full of resources, templates, and a hugely supportive community of MSP owners and I honestly think the value for this is massive, as they could be charging way more than they are.
The second membership to mention is in my own course. I’ve condensed everything I’ve learned from running my own business over the last decade into a course, and that comes with a tonne of resources and templates. There are also a load of UK legal agreements, so if you are reading this and you’re in the UK, definitely check that out because it costs less than you’d pay for just having one legal agreement made up for you. It’s currently £1,500 per year, so around £125 per month.
The last membership I’d recommend here is Entrepreneurs Circle, of which I am still a member today. And the EC is purely focused on marketing. It’s got a huge number of members, they hold national events here in the UK, and they also hold local networking events. It’s about £1k per year, which is £83 per month, and because they are only focused on marketing, you get to learn some cutting edge marketing techniques which adapt and change as say, Apple change their marketing preferences to block by default, this is the perfect place to learn strategies around that.
They also have a neat giveaway happening right now, where the first 500 people to sign up will enter a raffle to win a free Tesla which is pretty sick, so I’ll link to that and all of the others down below in case you wanted to check those out.
All together, these services would come to around £228 per month if you signed up for all 3.
This is actually one of the more difficult ones to make use of, because whilst signing up for any of these is great and easy, the challenge is actually implementing what you’re learning, and it’s something I’m discovering about 90% of people don’t do.
They’ll sign up and say all the right things about wanting to grow and learn and improve. But most people won’t actually follow through, and instead, they’ll procrastinate and make excuses about everything else holding them back instead. So a word of warning - sign up, and actually do something with them.
As we work our way up the difficulty levels, the next one I’d recommend and that I would be implementing in my own MSP, if starting from scratch, would be starting a podcast.
The key thing here is that you are not growing a podcast to get followers and actually grow a podcast.
The reason you start a podcast is to speak to people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to speak to.
If you had a dream list of customers who you’d love to work with - approaching them to ask if they’d like to be on your podcast is a much easier proposition than, asking them to come and talk to you about your IT.
What do you talk about?
Just interview them, and ask about their journey, how did they start their business, what have their challenges been, and how have they grown over the years. Maybe ask around how they have used technology in their business, have they used it to help them grow?
And guess what - all of this information - SUPER valuable to you if you ever did get the opportunity to talk to them about becoming a customer. Now you know a tonne more than you otherwise did. So use this time wisely- and make sure you do actually put out the podcast and don’t just pretend to run one so you can get them in to sell to them. That’s a very quick way to turn them into a ‘will never buy from you’ again.
I rate this as a medium to hard, because there’s a lot involved. Buying the gear, finding a quiet space to record, uploading, hosting, publishing - but a lot of that can be automated, and in a moment I’ll give you another hack around how you can save time here and have some of the costs covered too.
So for now, I’d say to budget about £1k for the audio gear. That’s Microphones and mixing desks, actually, it’s probably less than that. But £1k can probably get you a decent setup including some IKEA sofas to sit on. Plus the monthly cost to host the podcast of about £5-10 per month. So averaging that out it’s around £93 per month.
Going up the difficult rank again, we reach video marketing. I don't understand this at all, but if I was starting an MSP from scratch, today, I would be doing video marketing from day 0. Showing the journey, sharing my struggles, my thoughts, showing the service that our clients get, showing how we treat our staff because, at the end of the day, people DO buy from people.
And the best way to show who you are to the world is to share it on video.
It’s right up there in the difficult section, because I know for a lot of people, appearing on camera is one of the worst things you can ever do.
I was the same. I hated being on camera.
I saw there was an opportunity, because nobody, and still even today, nobody is really using Video that well in their MSP.
So if you can suck it up, and get over yourself, which is literally what I told myself when I got started, then you can and will get results by using video to grow your MSP.
Video has totally changed my life, and I’m confident that it can have a huge impact on your business too.
So budget-wise, again I’d probably budget around £1,500 for a camera, lens, lighting, and audio. And there are tonnes of resources online, and videos I’ve made to cover this topic of what and how to do it.
Breaking that down to monthly, that comes to £125 per month.
That all sounds very expensive, but there are 2 things, 2 hacks that I’d like to give you here.
The first piece of advice I’d like to give you here is to look into MDF Funding. There’s a post I wrote that will give you more detail about using MDF funding, but basically, you can have some if not all of your costs covered by your vendors. Speak to your distributors to see if anyone would be able to contribute 50% of the costs towards buying your camera gear, or the podcast equipment, in return that they’ll appear on your first podcast, or in a video.
There are things you can do which help to cover those costs. Actually, someone like Marketopia can help advise on how to get the most out of MDF Funding, so another shout out to get in touch with them if that’s something you wanted to consider.
The second hack, in a way, that I’d do if I was starting out right now, is to hire a marketing apprentice.
It’s by far the best way to market your business.
Because all of these things that I’ve just given you. The podcasts, the video, the website, social, all of the things, the vast majority of this can be handed over to a marketing apprentice.
Here in the UK, they’re affordable, you can typically hire a full-time person for around £800 per month, and the other benefit, though this probably isn’t politically correct - is that they’re typically young, and just get social media marketing, they get video marketing and podcasts, because that’s what they’ve grown up with, and it’s what they consume daily.
So if we add all of these up together, we get a grand total of £716 per month, excluding the marketing apprentice, or £1,516 per month including them.
The biggest thing I’ve got to say here around these costs is that the companies who invest, are the ones who succeed. So of course you need to be careful about not spending more than you’re making - but I know so many people who are scared about wasting money on marketing, who never try, and never find what works.
The rule here is that you do all of these things, and find out which ones work for you.
Don’t like networking? Swap that one out and try Google Ads.
Hate video marketing? Try writing blogs instead.
The magic with marketing is that everyone is different, and what works for me, might not work for you. And that’s part of the journey. You just have to find what works for you.
To see all the videos in my complete Marketing Pillar Series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...
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